Avastin Rejected by NICE to Treat Breast Cancer
Avastin, a drug used to treat breast cancer and eye disease, was rejected for treating advanced breast cancer by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), the special health authority of the National Health Service for England and Wales.
Ultimately, Nice said they could not conclude whether Avastin could extend the life of a patient with metastatic breast cancer any more than other treatments. The US FDA came to the same conclusions about the drug in late 2010.
Its side effects were also of great concern. Main side effects of the drug are hypertension and heightened risk of bleeding. There is also the risk of developing perforations in the body.
The Nice committee wrote, "for breast cancer patients whose tumors have spread elsewhere in the body, [Avastin] (when used with the taxane drug, paclitaxel) may slow the growth and spread of the cancer by around five months more than paclitaxel alone.
However, due to uncertainties in the evidence, the committee was unable to conclude whether bevacizumab [Avastin] could extend a patient's life, or how long for."
The decision disappointed Meg McArthur of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, who told the Telegraph she was disappointed with the decision.
"However, as a treatment for metastatic breast cancer, it would not be appropriate for everyone, and so we encourage continued investment into effective treatment options."